Edward III: May 1335

Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Originally published by Boydell, Woodbridge, 2005.

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1335 May

Introduction 1335


26 May - 3 June

For the writs of summons see RDP , iv, 443-6; CCR 1333-37 , 500.

(There is no surviving roll for this parliament.)

During the parliament of September 1334 it had been agreed that Edward III's existing plans to go on crusade should be delayed for a further five years. These plans were contingent on an agreement with France over Aquitaine and, since the summer of 1334, over Scotland. It was therefore agreed to send another embassy to Paris. In late October John Stratford the newly enthroned archbishop of Canterbury (the former bishop of Winchester, who had been replaced as chancellor by the bishop of Durham on 28 September), the abbot of Dore and William Clinton left for France. By 20 November the envoys had reached Paris where they presented Edward III's case. The archbishop stated that Edward wanted friendly relations with Philip VI, and was still willing to join him on crusade. However the French king would have to restore the lands in Gascony which he continued to occupy and declare neutrality in England's war with Scotland. In reply Philip said that he would restore the Gascon lands only if Edward III first paid the costs of French operations in Aquitaine, and that he would not abandon the Scots. The archbishop then withdrew in indignation. Despite the apparent impasse reached in Paris, negotiations between English and French commissioners continued in Agen and a new French embassy was sent to England to mediate between Edward III and the Scots. (fn. f1335int-1)

Edward III's invasion of Scotland in November 1334 had achieved very little, apart from the capture of the ruins of Roxburgh castle which Edward then set about rebuilding. A combination of the worst winter for many years, the unwillingness of the Scots to give battle, the failure of reinforcements to arrive, and lack of money forced Edward III to withdraw from Scotland at the beginning of February 1335. When Edward reached Newcastle on 18 February he was met by a French embassy which asked pointedly why Edward was supporting Edward Balliol, a man who had no right to the throne of Scotland against the lawful king, David II. Edward did not answer the question directly and replied that he would later send an embassy of his own to France to discuss the matter. He did however allow some members of the French embassy to enter Scotland to discuss a truce. (fn. f1335int-2)

The York parliament of May 1335 was preceded by a 'consilium' summoned on 23 February at Newcastle, to meet on 26 March 1335 at Nottingham. The two archbishops, five bishops, four earls, eleven barons, and six royal judges and clerks were summoned to attend. No knights, burgesses or lower clergy were summoned to attend. The writs of summons gave the purpose of the meeting only as the discussion of 'urgent and arduous affairs touching the king and the state of the kingdom'. Scotland was clearly the real nature of the business to be discussed. Scottish and French envoys were present at the council and agreed on a truce between England and the Scots, to last from Easter to mid-summer 1335. Edward had no intention of allowing a truce to turn into a final peace with Scotland. The arrangements for a summer campaign had already begun in February, and in early March orders were given for the recruiting of infantry forces in thirty-seven counties. On 27 March orders were issued for the army to assemble at Newcastle on 11 June. The terminating date of the council is unknown, but was presumably on or shortly before 1 April 1335 when the writs for the York parliament of 26 May were issued. (fn. f1335int-3)

Writs of summons were issued at Nottingham on 1 April 1335 for the holding of a parliament at York on 26 May 1335. The writs stated that the king had ordained the holding of a parliament. The writs stated that the king wished to have a 'colloquium et tractatum' with those in attendance; the proposed assembly was described as a parliament both in the writs and in the marginal note on the Close Roll.

The writs of summons gave the purpose of the parliament as 'various arduous affairs touching the king, and the state of the realm and of the king's other lands'.

Writs of summons were sent to the two archbishops, eighteen bishops (including the four Welsh bishops), twenty-eight abbots, three priors; to eleven earls (Norfolk, Cornwall, Lancaster, Surrey, Richmond, Arundel, Oxford, Hereford, Warwick, Angus (from Scotland), Devon), sixty barons; twenty-three royal judges and clerks; and for the election of representatives of the knights, burgesses, and lower clergy.

The session of parliament was dominated by the war with Scotland. Although the truce was not due to expire until 24 June, Edward III announced his plans for a summer campaign. These were apparently approved without dissent. Two French envoys who were present at York left soon afterwards to report the bad news. (fn. f1335int-4)

Although there is no record of any commune petitions being lodged at this parliament, two statutes were approved. These may in part have reflected concerns voiced by those attending the assembly. The first statute ordered that merchants might buy and sell freely, except to enemies; that no one might lose land because of nonplevin; that executors might not make use of essoins; and that inquiries concerning deeds dated in places where the king's writ did not run should not be delayed because of the the absence of witnesses to the deeds; and that justices of assize should send their records of things determined into the exchequer. The second statute consisted of a series of eleven ordinances concerning money: e.g., that no money or plate might be exported; counterfeit money might not be imported; no sterling should be melted down to make vessels; etc. (fn. f1335int-5) . It is however possible that some individual petitions were submitted. See PROME , Appendix of Unedited Petitions, 1307 - 1337 , Petitions in Parliament, 9 Edward III (1335-36) , Transcripts of twenty-two petitions from the originals in the Tower of London , and elsewhere in the Appendix, using the search engine. There is no evidence of a grant of taxation being sought or obtained.


  • f1335int-1. Haines, Archbishop John Stratford , 237-9; Sumption, The Hundred Years' War , I, 138-9.
  • f1335int-2. Sumption, The Hundred Years' War , I, 141-3.
  • f1335int-3. Sumption, The Hundred Years' War , I, 143; Haines, Archbishop John Stratford , 239; RDP , iv, 441.
  • f1335int-4. Sumption, The Hundred Years' War , I, 143; Haines, Archbishop John Stratford , 239.
  • f1335int-5. SR , I, 269-74.